Lust (वासना) is a psychological force producing intense wanting or longing for an object, or circumstance fulfilling the emotion. Lust can take any form such as the lust for sexuality, love, money or power. It can take such mundane forms as the lust for food as distinct from the need for food. Siddha Spirituality of Swami Hardas Life System is of the strong opinion that we should never ever become a victim of lust.
Lust Definition (वासना परिभाषा)
Lust is uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness, a passionate or overmastering desire or craving, a lust for power, ardent enthusiasm, zest, relish, an enviable lust for life, obsolete, pleasure or delight.
Addiction to lust (वासना का नशा)
Dr. Swami Hardas says that there are six enemies of human i.e. Kam (lust), Krodh (anger), Lobh (greed), Moh (attraction), Mad (pride), and Matsar (hate), which destroy our precious life. People addicted to lust think they are not corrupting their wives and children because “the wife and kids don’t see what I’m doing”. Singles think they’re not hurting anyone because they’re not married.
But addiction to lust has devastating effects on the struggler with lust and those around him since lust is master. What the lust addict can’t see is that:
- They are isolated and empty
- Addicted persons become increasingly self-centered
- Their character rots
- Perceptions, values, and decision-making processes are distorted
- If he or she is single, they corrupt their future marriage
- They get physically sick more often
- They become a mess chemically
- All joy in life goes off
- They deeply hurt their wives/husbands and children
- Ministry opportunities for Atmananda are lost
- Ultimately such lust addicted reject God
Lust in different religions (विभिन्न धर्मों में वासना)
Religions, especially Christianity, tend to draw a distinction between passion and lust by further categorizing lust as an inappropriate desire or a desire that is inappropriately strong, whereas passion is maintained to be something God-given and moral.
Buddhism (बुद्ध धर्म)
Lust holds a critical position in the philosophical underpinnings of Buddhist reality. It is named in the second of the Four Noble Truths, which are:
- Suffering (dukkha) is inherent in all life
- Desire results in suffering
- There is a natural way to eliminate all suffering from one’s life
- The ending of desire eliminates all suffering from someone’s life
Lust is the attachment to, identification with, and passionate desire for certain things in existence, all of which relate to the form, sensation, perception, mentality, and consciousness that certain combinations of these things engender within us. Lust is thus the ultimate cause of general imperfection and the most immediate root cause of a certain suffering.
In existence are four kinds of things that engender the clinging:
- Pleasures, and
- The self
The way to eliminate lust is to learn of its unintended effects and to pursue righteousness as concerns a worldview, intention, speech, behavior, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration, in the place where lust formerly sat.
Christianity (ईसाई धर्म)
Lust is considered by Catholicism to be a disordered desire for sexual pleasure, where sexual pleasure is “sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes”. In Catholicism, sexual desire in itself is good and is considered part of God’s plan for humanity. However, when sexual desire is separated from God’s love, it becomes disordered and self-seeking. This is seen as lust.
Hinduism (हिन्दू धर्म)
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna, an Avatar of Vishnu, declared in chapter 16, verse 21 that lust is one of the gates to Naraka or hell.
Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrsni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?
Then Krishna said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world. As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, the living entity is similarly covered by different degrees of this lust.
Thus the wise living entity’s pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire. The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.
Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin (lust) by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization. The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.
Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence, O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence and thus by spiritual strength—conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.
In this ancient manuscript, the idea behind the word ‘Lust’ is best comprehended as the psychological force called ‘Wanting’.
Brahma Kumari (ब्रह्मा कुमारी)
According to Brahma Kumaris, a spiritual organization which is based on Hindu philosophy, sexual lust is the greatest enemy to all mankind and the gateway to hell.
For this reason followers do not eat onions, garlic, eggs, or non-vegetarian food, as the “sulfur” in them can excite sexual lust in the body, otherwise bound to celibacy.
In Islam, intentional lascivious glances are forbidden. Lascivious thoughts are disliked, for they are the first step towards adultery, rape, and other antisocial behaviors. Prophet Muhammad also stressed the magnitude of the “second glance”, as the first glance towards an attractive member of the opposite sex could be just accidental or observatory, the second glance could be that gate into lustful thinking. Islam does not advocate celibacy but it requires marriage to conduct sex legally.
Judaism (यहूदी धर्म)
In Judaism, all evil inclinations and lusts of the flesh are characterized by Yetzer Hara (Hebrew, יצר הרע, the evil inclination). Yetzer Hara is not a demonic force; rather, it is man’s misuse of the things which the physical body needs to survive and is often contrasted with yetzer hatov (Hebrew, יצר הטוב, the positive desire).
Few ancient, pagan religions actually considered lust to be a vice. The most famous example of a widespread religious movement practicing lechery as a ritual is the Bacchanalia of the Ancient Roman Bacchantes. However, this activity was soon outlawed by the Roman Senate in 186 BC in the decree Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus. The practice of sacred prostitution, however, continued to be an activity practiced often by the Dionysians.
Sikhism (सिख धर्म)
In Sikhism, lust is counted among the five cardinal sins or sinful propensities, the others being Wrath, ego, greed, and attachment. Uncontrollable expression of sexual lust, as in rape or sexual addiction, is evil.
Meher Baba’s teachings (मेहर बाबा के उपदेश)
The spiritual teacher Meher Baba described the differences between lust and love:
In lust there is reliance upon the object of sense and consequent spiritual subordination of the soul to it, but love puts the soul into direct and co-ordinate relation with the reality which is behind the form. Therefore lust is experienced as being heavy and love is experienced as being light.
In lust there is a narrowing down of life and in love there is an expansion in being…If you love the whole world you vicariously live in the whole world, but in lust there is an ebbing down of life and a general sense of hopeless dependence upon a form which is regarded as another. Thus, in lust there is the accentuation of separateness and suffering, but in love there is the feeling of unity and joy.
Lust in different cultures (विभिन्न संस्कृतियों में वासना)
Medieval prostitutes (मध्यकालीन वेश्याएं)
Medieval prostitutes lived officially sanctioned in “red-light districts.” In Ruth Mazo Karras’ book Common Women, she discusses the meaning of prostitution and how people thought the proper use of prostitutes by unmarried men helped contain male lust. Prostitution was thought of as having a beneficial effect by reducing sexual frustration in the community.
Lust philosophy (वासना दर्शन)
The link between love and lust has always been a problematic question in philosophy.
Schopenhauer notes the misery which results from sexual relationships. According to him, this directly explains the sentiments of shame and sadness which tend to follow the act of sexual intercourse. For, he states, the only power that reigns is the inextinguishable desire to face, at any price, the blind love present in human existence without any consideration of the outcome. He estimates that a genius of his species is an industrial being who wants only to produce, and wants only to think.
St. Thomas Aquinas (सेंट थॉमस एक्विनास)
St. Thomas Aquinas defines the sin of Lust in questions 153 and 154 of his Summa Theologica. Aquinas says this sin is of voluptuous emotions and makes the point that sexual pleasures, “unloosen the human spirit,” and set aside right reason.
Aquinas restricts lust’s subject matter to physical desires specifically arising from sexual acts, but Aquinas does not assume all sex-acts are sinful. Sex is not a sin in marriage, because sex is the only way for humans to reproduce. If sex is used naturally and the end purpose is reproduction there is no sin.
Wet dreams (स्वपन दोष)
St. Thomas Aquinas defined and discussed the topic of a nocturnal emission, which occurs when one dreams of physical pleasure. Aquinas argues those who say that wet dreams are sin and comparable to the actual experience of sex are wrong. Aquinas believes that such action is sinless, for a dream is not under a person’s control or free judgment.
One of the main forms of lust seen frequently during the Middle Ages was the sin of adultery. The sin of adultery occurs when a person is unfaithful to his or her spouse, hence invading of a bed not one’s own.
Adultery is a special kind of ugliness and many difficulties arise from it. When a man enters the bed of a married woman it not only is a sin but it wrongs the offspring because the woman now calls into question the legitimacy of children. If a wife has committed adultery before, then, her husband will question if all his wife’s children are his offspring.
Simple fornication (सरल व्यभिचार)
Simple fornication is having sex with one’s wife for enjoyment rather than for bearing children. Fornication is also sex between two unmarried people, which is also a mortal sin. Aquinas says fornication is a deadly crime. Fornication is a mortal sin, but as Aquinas notes, “Pope Gregory treated sins of the flesh as less grievous than those of the spirit”.
It is a kind of activity that often coincides with seduction and is defined as a type of lechery. Rape comes with force and violence, which occurs when a person craves the pleasures of sex so intensely that he uses force to obtain it. However, rape is committed when violence is used to seduce or deflower a virgin.
Seduction is a type of lust because seduction is a sex act, which ravishes a virgin. Lust is a sin of sexual activity.
Unnatural vice (अप्राकृतिक दुराचार)
It is the worst kind because it is unnatural in act and purpose. Unnatural vice happens variously, but Aquinas provides several examples including bestiality or intercourse with a thing of another species, for example, animals. Aquinas said, “bestiality goes beyond the bands of humanity” and is, therefore, unnatural.
Contemporary spiritual perspective (समकालीन आध्यात्मिक परिप्रेक्ष्य)
Barry Long states that lusting is simply thinking or fantasizing about an imagined sexual scene and private parts of the body. The action of thinking or fantasizing stirs the natural, pure sexual energy into a coarser, more degraded emotional form. Long encourages lovemaking as the practice of converting sexual energy into the knowledge of love:
“You don’t need a celibate body, you need a celibate mind”
“आपको ब्रह्मचर्य-शरीर की आवश्यकता नहीं है, आपको ब्रह्मचर्य की आवश्यकता है”
Lust in psychoanalysis and psychology (मनोविश्लेषण और मनोविज्ञान में वासना)
Lust, in the domain of psychoanalysis and psychology, is often treated as a case of heightened libido.
A person is more likely to lust after someone who does not resemble themselves. Self-relatedness is a cue of kinship and causes an instinctual reaction to not be attracted.
Therefore, self-resemblance decreases attractiveness and sexual desire in a person, while less resemblance increases attractiveness and sexual desire, creating a higher possibility of lust.